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Easter Weekend

Well, that was an up-and-down sort of four days...

On Good Friday, Paul and I both decided to be lazy and do bugger all for the entire day. He spent his time upstairs playing Magic: The Gathering online, whilst I spent my day on the sofa reading fanfic. (New laptop FTW! Failing that I would probably have watched some of the films I've been racking up on Sky+ - I think there's about seven of them!)

The fanfic in question was some of the stories recommended in a recent post on phanwank</lj>, a couple of full-chapter stories suggested in comments to a post asking for good fic recs. I do tend to get fed up of chapter stories quite quickly these days, as I don't have the time or patience to read them, and am guilty of skipping the plot-heavy bits (in the case of one story, "Fraternité", I ended up skipping much of the Russian mafia subplot - don't ask) in favour of reading the juicy shippiness. Anyway, as a result of said fic-reading (probably about eight hours all told; I had recharge the laptop twice!) I spent much of Friday in an E/C ship-induced haze, which was pleasant if not entirelty conducive to productivity.

Satuday was spent, by contrast, rushing all over the place. Paul was supposed to be going to a house party in Bearwood for someone's 40th birthday, so we had to cancel going to see my mum and David (thankfully they weren't planning anything special, just had chilli in the freezer to use up!), except in the end he decided not to go because we'd spent most of the day out of the house and the weather was poo. Firstly we went into Bearwood to have breakfast at our regular cafe (Anatolia) and then went to the Bear Tavern for a couple of drinks whilst Paul rang Alex to arrange him and Dina coming over for dinner, as it was Dina's birthday on Thursday. After establishing what we were going to cook we then hastily bought supplies in Bearwood (though thankfully we had most of the ingredients already).

We then went home again so we could check the recipes for whatever else we needed (which transpired to be about three things), and went the other way to the Sainsbury's in Oldbury. Spent about £16 in there because I needed bits and bobs for Paul's Easter cakes for work. Then we went over the road to Comet at the retail park because they had a sale on and I wanted a new food processor. It's a very shiny Bosch model with multiple attachments and a blender, reduced from £120 to £80; I spent the money saved there on a mini-chopper (which was £20) for making marinades / breadcrumbs / anything small that doesn't require faffing with the full-size mixer. ;) Money well spent as the new mixer has a bigger capacity than my old one and more attachments.

Back home again and more pottering about for the evening. We spent much of the afternoon making the dessert for Sunday (the Mars-bar mousse things we made for Lisa back in December), which involved Paul failing at maths when trying to make the filo cups and having to improvise with puff pastry (unsurprisingly, it didn't work).

In the evening, things took a turn for the worst. Paul was in the kitchen (I can't remember now what he was doing, I think possibly preparing for dinner or finishing the topping for the dessert) whilst I was in the living room reading through another chapter-fic. Suddenly, the shelf behind / over the television decided it was going to fall off the wall, causing the following chain of events to happen: firstly it hit the half-width shelf below and thus my stereo, causing the latter to fall head-first onto the floor; secondly it hit the back of our three-weeks-in-situ 40" LCD HD TV; thirdly and subsequently, the TV toppled over, snapped off its stand and landed face first on the floor.

For my part, I was caught in one of those split-second decision-making moments wherein I was trying to decide if I should jump and save the TV (doubtless putting the laptop somewhere unsafe and breaking that in the process) or sit back and watch in terror as the entire thing collapsed. Given all of this happened in about five seconds, though, I would not have been quick enough, and would probably have fallen over the footstool and ended up with a TV on my head.

Paul came rushing in thinking I'd managed to drop something on myself (like the DVD units) and asked what happened, at which point I gesticulated at the chaos now dominating the corner of the room.

We managed to clear the books from the shelf from behind the TV unit and piled them up on the window seat, put the CD player upright again and assessed the damage to the TV. At first we thought it might be okay as it had partway landed on my trainers, at least on the one side, except upon turning it on there was a pretty spider-web of broken pixels and no picture. (We think it fell onto the landline handset as that was in front of it.)

Brilliant.

I should point out - this is the TV we recently bought off my mum and David and it had literally been in place less than a month; the shelf has been full of books since about August, and in any event we didn't put it up. Furthermore we did not receive any warnings about putting heavy things on top of it, etc., which might have deterred us from storing our cookbooks on it. I did worry initially that it didn't seem particularly strong, but as it held out for eight months without incident, I contented myself that it was okay.

As this happened at about half-nine, we couldn't actually ring up the bank to make a claim on the contents insurance until yesterday; thankfully it seems they are going to pay out and we should get the money for a TV of the same specifications. Also thankfully nobody wanted our behemoth 32" CRT (which had been living in the kitchen for a lack of anywhere else to put it), so we do have a television in the interim, but we'd had the 40" long enough to get used to it and now the Sky menus look all blurry and weird. :P

Being in the room at the time was somewhat traumatic, to say the least, and as a result of the upset caused by the broken television and potentially broken stereo (so far it seems okay though I have yet to try and play a CD; the changer still works, as does the radio), about five minutes later a migraine kicked in. Thinking it was just a headache because I'd been crying, I didn't bother taking any migraleve until about half an hour later, by which point it had well and truly set in. The oven then refused to stay lit (it has an annoying tendency to blow itself out sometimes) so we didn't end up eating until quarter-to-eleven, except by then, despite being hungry, I managed only three mouthfuls of what looked like very nice food before feeling sick and having to stop. Stupid migraine. I think have now conclusively proven that they're stress-related, though, so next time work is being a pain in the arse and I have a monthly spate of regular weekend migraines, I am getting myself signed off with stress.

I went to bed at eleven (after lying on the sofa in the dark wanting to die) and the migraine had dwindled to a dull ache by morning, so I took the tablets nice and early. Thankfully I nipped it in the bud before it had a chance to settle in, and they didn't knock or mong me out, so the meal with Alex and Dina went well. We did Indian-style prawn toasts (these are amazing, I'll post the recipe below) followed by lasagne (very nice although I burned the garlic bread somehow) and the Mars bar mousse for dessert. Ironically, just before the TV accident on Saturday Paul had said how much he was looking forward to showing off our new telly and that we could play on the Wii when Alex and Dina came over. :P

Yesterday was fairly lazy for the most part, although we headed out to the shops quite early so I could get margarine for Paul's work cakes. We spent most of the afternoon doing the washing up from Sunday, and baking (Paul helped this time so it was a bit quicker). He's taken in three different types of fairy cakes: pink vanilla cakes with strawberries, lemon cakes with lemon/orange jellies, and chocolate with mini eggs. I think there were about 60 in total. :)

Bizarrely, I carried on reading the fic I started on Saturday and nearly dropped the laptop; I think it must be cursed. It's going on a bit long now though (I'm at chapter sixty-something and it shows no signs of relenting) and even though it's well-written the dialogue is a bit overly forced and OOC; if not for the recognisable fandom characters the author might as well have written an original novel. Plus I'm not finding her E/C interaction particularly inspiring or well-characterised. It's a shame, as she's obviously put a lot of thought into the storyline and is a decent writer, if somewhat repetitive and bland in places... On the plus side, I have found a POTO fanfiction community (operagasm</lj>) as a result so I might check them out for a few days, see how active the commenters are and maybe start posting my stuff there, starting with "Whisper" and working backwards. I could do with inspiration to finish "Sweet Intoxication" anyway, so maybe re-posting it will give me the drive to do so...

So, that was our Easter weekend. I had planned to get through a load of washing, but obviously the weather conspired against me. According to the weather forecast it's also going to be grim when we're away in Tenby next week, although they also said we would have ten solid days of rain in Birmingham and there's blue sky out there today, so maybe they're wrong. ;)

Here's the recipe for the Indian-style prawn toasts, off the top of my head... I might have missed something seasoning-wise but I think this was the process.

Indian-Style Prawn Toast

Ingredients

4x slices white bread, toasted and crusts removed (or anything from which you can get 16 small pieces, such as slices off a baguette)
2tbsp chopped fresh ginger (about half an inch)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small onion, diced
300g fresh prawns
1-2 eggs, lightly whisked with a dash of milk and some salt
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Method

Fry the onion in 2tbsp vegetable oil until lightly golden. Then stir in the ginger, chillies and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Then add the tomato and spices, add a splash of water, and cook for a further four minutes or until the mixture is dry. Add the prawns and fry until they are cooked.

If the mixture is too runny just keep cooking until all the moisture has evaporated. Add the coriander leaves last.

Quarter the slices of bread diagonally. In a large pan, heat 3tbsp vegetable oil. Press about 1tbsp of the prawn mixture onto the surface of each toast, then brush the prawn surface with the egg (or if you're brave, you can put the egg mixture into a shallow bowl and dunk the toasts instead). Carefully place the toast, prawn-side down, into the pan and fry off for about 30 seconds until sealed and golden brown. (You can also fry the other side as well but they come out a bit heavier.)

These are actually amazing. I made them for Paul's birthday originally and they went down very well on Sunday, too. The flavour is definitely not like the prawn toasts you get from your local Chinese takeaway, but not overpoweringly spicy. Try it!

I might post my lasagne recipe later, though to be honest there's nothing particularly special about the method, I am just the Best Cook Ever. ;)</u>

Today I have managed to injure myself twice in the space of 30 minutes, firstly by bashing the back of my hand off the corner of a desk (I actually have a lump there now), and secondly by walking into the door frame on my way downstairs (probably going to be a lovely bruise). I'm going to the gym later so let's see what else I manage to do. Also my fingers are peeling at a rate of knots, so no chance of getting my nails done all pretty for going away next week. Bah.

Okay, I think that's long enough. Over and out.

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T'eyla Minh
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